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Richmond Hill approves annexation of 1,100 acres
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A last minute addition to the March 6 Richmond Hill City Council meeting was made when developer Lamar Smith presented a plea to have his proposed 1,100 acres of county property off Daniel Siding Road annexed into the city. Smith plans to create a residential and commercial mixed-use development project with the tract.

The proposed annexation was held up due to the fact that the city, as required by law, sent a letter to the county to advise them of the annexation in the event that they may have objections regarding zoning.

City manager Mike Melton stated that, by law, the county only has 15 days in which to respond before the city can proceed with a planned annexation. Melton also stated that the county has repeatedly postponed the matter and have yet to put it as an agenda item at a commission meeting.

Smith asked that the council please go ahead and annex the property into the city as it has been five months now.

"I don’t blame you," said Mayor Richard Davis. "I think it’s time to move forward with this. We’ve given the county more than enough time to respond."

The council approved the annexation for the 1,100 acre tract, as they did five months ago – only this time without the clause to wait on input from county officials.

Prior to the meeting, Mayor Davis called Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed regarding the matter to advise him of Smith’s forthcoming request.

Burnsed stated that the hold-up was due to issues with road ingress and regress.

"It was almost landlocked," said Burnsed. "We’ve been through two or three different scenarios, and we finally found a way where it would be workable for the developer. It will most likely be addressed at the next commission meeting."

Smith said that he did have ongoing communication with the county during the past five months, but that he is relieved to finally have the annexation in motion as "it’s simply a fact that the city has the ability to supply water and sewer."

Smith said that, if all goes according to plan, he is about a year away from breaking ground on the huge Daniel Siding tract which he says "is much more than a subdivision, but rather a master plan community that will include a wide variety of housing styles, apartments, townhomes, parks, green space, lakes, club house, pool, baseball field, trail system and much more. The commercial end of it will develop a little bit later."

In other business:

• Site plans and building elevations were approved for a learning center at developer Herb Black’s upcoming Harris Trail Complex.

• Site plans and building elevations were approved for a fuel storage facility at Richmond Hill Plantation. Plantation representative Bill Batastini indicated that the facility is for the purpose of refueling equipment vehicles.

• A request by RH-BC Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Bonnie Proctor was approved to utilize J.F. Gregory Park for the 2007 Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival on Oct. 19-21. Melton noted that the event requires a contract signing this year, and Proctor said she would gladly comply. Melton said that the contract is simply a check list to help maintain the organization of the event now that it has become such a large scale production.

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